Posted by: pizzainmotion | July 24, 2012

More Upgraded Planes For AA

Some of this is not necessarily new info, but AA has now organized a bunch of it on their website.

The 777 announcements were made back during the oneworld MegaDo in January, but the Airbus info is new.  The A321 that flies transcon (NYC-LAX/SFO, for example) will have 3-cabin service and completely lay flat seats in both First and Business.  They’re not supposed to start this until mid-year 2013, but as of now AA is the only airline that will be offering this in the US.

There are a number of other things AA is doing, including putting back seats with extra legroom in coach.  Most everyday travelers think this was something United came up with, but AA was actually there a lot earlier (and probably too early).  They ended up bailing on More Room Throughout Coach before they figured out the right way to monetize it.

They’ll continue to include wi-fi and in-seat power everywhere, including USB jacks for charging.  These efforts continue to put them way ahead of United, although UA will most likely have made up some ground by the time the A321 rolls out for AA.

View From The Wing got more of a first-hand look at the new product (okay, a 3D version on tape).  Gary brings up the point that the A321 will have significantly less seats than the 767 that currently services the route.  I’d be thrilled to see more frequency, but I suspect it will be higher price.  In the end, that’s okay too, especially if AA stays independent.

I was a bit lazy on loading up pictures, so I’ll include this link from Wandering Aramean as well.

It was also reported on Milepoint that the in-flight entertainment (IFE) will most likely be free in coach, which I think is another great move on the part of AA to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

I’m an AA homer, no question.  Today probably more than most, since I drifted from 3rd to 9th on the upgrade list for my 3 1/2 hour flight today on UA, ending up sitting in coach beside two people who really didn’t appear to fly very often.

But, these types of innovations really strike me as the AA my father flew for so many years.  He always told me how good AA was to him, and I’ve experienced the same.  They’ve made some bad decisions, some good decisions that ended up with bad consequences (see waiting to declare bankruptcy much longer than all the other airlines) and their unions hate their guts.  All that being said, they really do seem like they’re turning a corner.


Responses

  1. I had an AA rep confirm to me directly that the IFE will be free in coach. I was also rather concerned about that.

    As for this putting AA ahead of UA, I’d say it is a toss-up. UA is already ahead of AA on power and in-seat IFE of some sort on much of the narrow-body fleet. The old UA 752s and Airbii aren’t getting in-seat IFE but they are getting internet soon enough. Many are likely to be configured before AA sees even the first delivery from AIrbus in this new configuration.

    Yes, AA is stepping things up. Matching the UA biz product on transcons and having another cabin in front of that certainly will let them grab the narrow market that is paid F transcons. This brings them back into the pack across the board and in front in certain places. But I’m not so sure I’d call them front runners yet.

    • I think it’s more than fair to say AA is not a front-runner now since none of these new products is actually flying yet. But, after AA getting kicked in the teeth for quite a while, seeing them put some good things out there was like seeing AJ Burnett pitch up to his capabilities after a year of underperforming for the Yankees and thinking maybe he broke out of his funk.

      I’ll bet on AA long before AJ, though, Pirates success or no. Looking forward to better planes to go with AA’s better service employees (IMO).


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